在元永藝術生涯的早期,大多採用有機材料進行實驗,如水或煙霧非靜態的物質創作,其中他於1956創作的作品<水>知名度最高,2009年的威尼斯雙年展上,該裝置作品經過重新創作之後亮相於2013年古根漢美術館舉辦之《具體:燦爛的遊樂場》展覽。

在日本畫作經常被使用的作畫技巧-在畫布上滴上顏料,趁顏料尚未凝固前再滴上其他色彩,元永早期也曾經嘗試,1966年至1967年間,元永定正在紐約生活,也是在這裡他開始使用噴槍和壓克力顏料進行創作,色彩明亮飽和,硬邊、類卡通的繪畫風格也奠定了他後來的作品形式,直到現在,此手法至今仍為人注目!

In the early stage of his art career, Motonaga mostly used organic and non-static materials, such as water or smoke, to carry out experiment for his creation. Water (1956) is his most famous work, which was displayed in the Venice Biennale 2009 and exhibited in Gutai: Splendid Playground held by the Guggenheim Museum in 2013 after its re-creation.

Dripping the pigment on the canvas and then adding other colors before the pigment has solidified is a painting method often seen in Japanese painting, Motonaga once tried this method in his early period. From 1966 to 1967, Motonaga lived in New York, where he started to adopt airbrush and acrylic paint to make art. The bright and saturated colors, hard-edged and cartoon-like painting style became the form of his later works. Until now, this technique is still eye-catching.